The sequel to Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa is provisionally called Rodanthe’s Gift. At the moment it is ‘work in progress’, but once complete we will follow Captain Kazanis and his young son during the next dark and bloody phase of Turk oppression.
Rodanthe, the brave woman known these days as Kritsotopoula, who fought the Turks disguised as a young man, is dead. Captain Kazanis and his son have seen her buried in the Kritsa cemetery, and now rush to muster with the Christian force. They use the track away from Kritsa, rising by Lato Archaeological Site to descend to Lackonia Plain via an ancient stepped path.
How long would it take them? What could they see?
Join me and two Kritsa friends, Liz and Ann, as we walk in their footsteps.
These directions for a one way walk will take circa two hours. To get back to Kritsa you either need a friend (or taxi) to meet you with a car at the other end, or be prepared for a return walk. Stout footwear, sun protection and water are recommended.
Head for the main Kritsa car park, just a short way uphill after passing this junction on the right, signposted Lato Archaeological Site.
Park in the car park where you will find a handy cafe .
Exit the car park to walk back down to the junction signposted Lato Archaeological Site. Take this road away from Kritsa. Pass by a small school on the left, and follow the road until it crosses a bridge.
Just after the bridge you will see a track to the left signposted to the gorge while the road continues to Lato Archaeological Site. Take the track towards the gorge.
At the top of the track is another signpost for the gorge. This time turn away from the gorge to turn right, uphill.
Just as the track seems about to dip down there is a stone cairn where a narrower track goes off to the left. This is the path to take. See the photo below where Ann is kindly pointing the correct direction.
The path is steep uphill here and the ancient cobbled path is soon evident. Pass through a wire gate remembering to shut it again.
When the path opens out you can enjoy a wide view across Mirabello Bay to your right while you get your breath back.
Now look for red dots painted on rocks to your left indicating the way to follow. The track quickly becomes more obvious running between two low stone walls.
There is at least one more wire gate to open and close, while the view ahead opens out showing more of the Dikti Mountains. Look across to the right and you can see the entrance to the Lato Archaeological Site… a visit for another day.
When the path meets a track turn right, downhill, and then turn left on a tarmac road.
At the V in the road you can stop to admire the Kritsotopoula memorial carved by British, Kritsa resident, Nigel Ratcliff. This is where the annual Kritsotopoula memorial service is held in May.
Then take the right hand fork.
A few metres to the left is the start of the stepped path to Laconia.
Near the foot of the hill we passed through another another gate and the cobbles became small and loose. We wondered why the path was so broken here.
Ah, sheep were the culprits. Good job we shut the gate!
The path UP to Lato.
The walk took us two hours, nattering all the way, and then we had a lift back to Kritsa, in time for lunch.
The triumphant Turk and Arab army had infantry, cavalry, damaged cannon and pack animals to get down the steep hill to Lackonia. All those feet were bound to have damaged the stonework and littered the path with all sorts of rubble and garbage.
When Kazanis and Petros followed a day later, with two donkeys, an injured man and a stowaway, they must have needed to pick their way carefully. Mmmm, I’d better think about that…